JWfangirl1992

The "What I Do For a Living" Thread

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So right now I am a Freshman in college deciding on the whole major/minor thing and right now I am most likely looking at a double major in Business Management/Marketing with a minor in the Classics (specifically Latin).

So this got me thinking, what do you guys do for a living and do you find yourself to be a successful person? I've been told so many times that I'm most likely not going to get a job involving my major if I go very specific. So I like business and figure that these majors are safe to help me get a solid job after college. What do you guys think?

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I'm on my third year of studying cinema direction. Of course, studying something like this makes you scared of the future, but it's my thing, I know it. I love making films and I love watching them.

Also I've been commisioned to write the libretto of a comic opera. I know it sounds weird, but I have a friend who's a composer and he suggested me for the gig and here I am, writing and writing all day. It's fantastic.

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I'm a supervisor in a hostel that houses high/very high risk offenders, and help reintegrate them into the community at the end of long sentences....and drag their stupid asses bag to prison if they don't behave thelselves....

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Currently I work for an IT services company/consulter, who hire people based on their skill set, rather than doing a specific job. My current role is on the 'platform team', which basically means I maintain/monitor/install/anything needed, Windows-based, on my project's internal development environment.

My BSc was in Business Management, and I'd be lying if I said I found it very useful, or even very enjoyable. If you're genuinely looking for a solid grounding in business, or want to 'be somebody' as they say, then go for it. My problem was being uncertain about career choice and choosing the 'safe' option.

So I then did a MSc in Computer Science and those two degrees were what collectively got me employed.

Having worked for just over 3 years now, I've always had a thought at the back of my mind of how cool it would be to go back to uni and do a film course. But I'm somewhat reluctant to push my film 'career' beyond serious amateur level, partly because my current position is actually pretty good in terms of career prospects, and because I'm insecure about the quality of my creative work.

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I'm a supervisor in a hostel that houses high/very high risk offenders, and help reintegrate them into the community at the end of long sentences....and drag their stupid asses bag to prison if they don't behave thelselves....

Sounds entertaining!

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It really depends on your definition of success. If by success you mean great job and financial security, these are the tips I've learned through experience, experiences of others, opinions of my contacts, and being responsible for hiring people at two companies (both game developers, but in two different departments: previously art, now engineering):

I would recommend avoiding generic degrees.

Specifically I would discourage you from going towards a general business degree. AKA pick an accounting degree or economics degree over a business administration degree. Something focused with strong technical backing is always going to be better for you than something more general and conceptual.

And here's why: It doesn't matter that you won't get a job in something specific you majored in. As an employer (and not just me, but other employers I've talked to) I'm not concerned with whether your job matches your degree, but wether or not your degree has been focused and challenging enough to show that you are able to thoroughly learn highly specialized material well. Anyone can learn generalized material. But being able to learn specific and technical subjects requires problem solving, learning skills, and attention to detail that put you on top of the resume stack, instantly. I minored in business administration because I thought it would help with getting into an MBA program, and at my school the undergrad classes were a *joke*. Eating pie was more difficult. And there was so many people in it.

One thing you can seriously consider is picking a more specialized major for undergrad, and pursuing an MBA for grad school (that is if grad school is an option for you). A more specific, technical bachelors degree + an MBA is a very optimal combination and will give you a better standing with employers. But the most important thing to take away here: Employers don't care about how well your major matches with the job, but whether or not your major and grades show strong learning skills. Generic majors don't look as good period. If you do some research on demographics of MBA schools, you will find that even they have very few students who are undergrad business degrees, generally 20-25% are business majors. The majority of people they accept come from engineering, economics, accounting, sciences, computer science. I can tell you having been through an MBA program, grad-level business administration and undergrad are night and day. MBA you will arrive at your masters battered, bruised, bleeding, coughing. But it is extremely rewarding and fun!

I doubled majored in Computer Science and Animation & Digital Arts [read: HELL] at. And got an MBA at. Steadily slaved away for many "The Man's" all through college, and am currently a mid level "The Man" slaving away for bigger men. [yes even while going through HELL, I was slaving for The Man]

That's the other thing, seek employment and career opportunities all through college....you will come out ahead of the pack, even if your grades may suffer *slightly*. (If they suffer too much, you need to put education first!).

Of course, this is what I've learned by myself and from others in regards to *my* definition and aspirations for success. I always was driven to be "big and important" (etiquette has us saying...take risks and make big decisions to make us not look like douchebags) but not so much that I have to sacrifice my health and family. AKA I don't want to start my own company or be the Biggest Cheese.

You need to formulate and define where you want to be, and do the homework and networking to figure out how to get there.

But no matter what, please do keep this in mind: Your major WILL NOT define your career choices, and you are under no obligation to pursue a job in it. VERY few people do. Your major should be an opportunity for you to show how well you can learn difficult material.

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I agree with Blume.

A generic major, like business, could be useful, however, if you don't know what you want to do yet and you have time to make it more specific later on. I should also point out that some people I know chose really fun degrees, like a foreign language or history, and now they don't have a job with the income they desire because their degree is not in demand. That doesn't mean you shouldn't major in something you love, but like Blume said you should have a specific plan based on where you want to be. There's a viable path that starts with every major - you just have to know where you want to end up.

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I can't offer any first-hand experience with the business major, but I know my mother (now in her 50s) majored in business, and she says that she kinda wishes she'd chosen something that taught her more actual skills. She and my father have been successful in the sense that they make enough money to live comfortably, but they certainly aren't wealthy or anything.

As for me, I'm still in college myself, although not for much longer. I chose cognitive science (it's a lot like psychology) because my first two choices, physics and architecture, didn't pan out, and I was running out of time. Cognitive science seemed interesting, and it was something I could meet the requirements for, yet still graduate on time. I don't plan to use it too much in the real world, but I'm sure the degree will help my job-hunting prospects. Really, though, I'm pretty determined to have a career at Disney, specifically in Parks and Resorts. Fortunately, I've already got my foot in the door with a starting position and some contacts higher up, so we'll see how it all goes.

BTW, thanks for posting your take on things, Blumenkohl. Valuable advice. Makes me feel good about the fact that I recently did a little paperwork to get "Specialization in Computing" added to my major...it didn't require any classes I hadn't already taken for my major, but it certainly sounds more specific and skillful than cognitive science by itself! ;)

Anyway, JWfangirl1992, best of luck with everything!

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College is much more about learning how to learn than it is about the individual things they will teach you there.

Beautifully said. Can't get much more on-point than that.

It's remarkable to me how the world is changing. College degrees (aside from those highly-specific majors that are obviously necessary to certain lines of work) are growing less and less relevant, while experience is becoming what employers are looking for. Your degree is likely to be a footnote in your resume. So learn how to learn, and be ready to do whatever comes your way after school, regardless of whether it fits your major or not.

- Uni

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College is much more about learning how to learn than it is about the individual things they will teach you there.

Beautifully said. Can't get much more on-point than that.

It's remarkable to me how the world is changing. College degrees (aside from those highly-specific majors that are obviously necessary to certain lines of work) are growing less and less relevant, while experience is becoming what employers are looking for. Your degree is likely to be a footnote in your resume. So learn how to learn, and be ready to do whatever comes your way after school, regardless of whether it fits your major or not.

- Uni

I'm not sure they're becoming less and less relevant. They're probably more relevant than before, in terms of opening up employment opportunities (grad school is becoming a necessity by the time some of you guys get there). But in the U.S. what's happening is that we're moving away from the "everyone must go to college" mentality to a more, "college isn't for everyone" mentality, which is a good thing.

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The college degree visa via it's relevance really depends alot on the profession. In my case, as an educator, the degree means everything: how high a degree and where you got it from. I tell students now, if they're going into education, be prepared to spend 6 years in college and be prepared to have to get that master's immediately after you're done with the bachelor's. No one in the public school system is going to even look twice at you without it. What they want now is young, lots of degrees, and cheap. And, with how overly regulated teaching has become, it's just getting worse with all the degrees and crap you need.

What I've also been telling kids is to seriously consider a career in music now. That wasn't the case 5 years ago. Back then, if a student said to me "I want do music for a living", my response would have been "Then, you better teach, because you're going to starve otherwise." But, with the explosion of work in audio production, especially with video games in recent years, there is plenty of work out there now that never existed 5 years ago. And, especially if you go into the video game industry, they want their audio producers to be able to write music and be able to perform it now. That's wonderful, because when I graduated high school 16 years ago, something like that wasn't even close to be an option for me.

One thing that is almost universal now, in every industry, is that you will almost certainly have to keep going back to school for more advanced degrees. People equate the number of extra letters after your last name with how smart you are - which, after 11 years of being a teacher, I can say for a fact that extra letters doesn't mean someone is smart - but, unfortunately, people think that. It's not enough to have just experience anymore. That was fine for our parents, but, now, especially in today's economy, you need higher degrees.

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What I've also been telling kids is to seriously consider a career in music now. That wasn't the case 5 years ago. Back then, if a student said to me "I want do music for a living", my response would have been "Then, you better teach, because you're going to starve otherwise." But, with the explosion of work in audio production, especially with video games in recent years, there is plenty of work out there now that never existed 5 years ago. And, especially if you go into the video game industry, they want their audio producers to be able to write music and be able to perform it now. That's wonderful, because when I graduated high school 16 years ago, something like that wasn't even close to be an option for me.

There's more job openings....BUT....

Our pool of musicians to pick from has gotten HUGE. Most developers I know of/worked for don't hire composers simply because it's cheaper to contract them...because there's so many unemployed and willing to work at any given moment for nickels and dimes.

If they want to make a career out of it in the gaming industry, they need to learn some serious technical chops to be able to have work consistently when the devs are not looking for music, and on 4 year development cycles, that basically means you need talent to fill in 3.5 years of work between writing music. ;) Otherwise you're back in the contract pool of starving composers.

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Beautifully said. Can't get much more on-point than that.

It's remarkable to me how the world is changing. College degrees (aside from those highly-specific majors that are obviously necessary to certain lines of work) are growing less and less relevant, while experience is becoming what employers are looking for. Your degree is likely to be a footnote in your resume. So learn how to learn, and be ready to do whatever comes your way after school, regardless of whether it fits your major or not.

- Uni

I'm not sure they're becoming less and less relevant. They're probably more relevant than before, in terms of opening up employment opportunities (grad school is becoming a necessity by the time some of you guys get there). But in the U.S. what's happening is that we're moving away from the "everyone must go to college" mentality to a more, "college isn't for everyone" mentality, which is a good thing.

I think you said it better than me. :up:

- Uni

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I'm a supervisor in a hostel that houses high/very high risk offenders, and help reintegrate them into the community at the end of long sentences....and drag their stupid asses bag to prison if they don't behave thelselves....

Sounds entertaining!

It can be, but it is tough on the mind and emotions....with some genuinely heartbreaking/angry/violent/fuck-me-i'm-getting-the-hell-out-of-dodge moments....and a lot of fun it does have to be said....

Learning how to learn! Now there's ssomething that isn't taught anywhere near enough - or properly, I think.....vital, vital skill - amazing book for anyone into that kind of thing is "Power Up Your Mind" by Dr Bill Lucas - not a self-help book despite the title, but a thorough (and extremely entertaining) book on just that subject - should be on every student's reading list.

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What I've also been telling kids is to seriously consider a career in music now. That wasn't the case 5 years ago. Back then, if a student said to me "I want do music for a living", my response would have been "Then, you better teach, because you're going to starve otherwise." But, with the explosion of work in audio production, especially with video games in recent years, there is plenty of work out there now that never existed 5 years ago. And, especially if you go into the video game industry, they want their audio producers to be able to write music and be able to perform it now. That's wonderful, because when I graduated high school 16 years ago, something like that wasn't even close to be an option for me.

There's more job openings....BUT....

Our pool of musicians to pick from has gotten HUGE. Most developers I know of/worked for don't hire composers simply because it's cheaper to contract them...because there's so many unemployed and willing to work at any given moment for nickels and dimes.

If they want to make a career out of it in the gaming industry, they need to learn some serious technical chops to be able to have work consistently when the devs are not looking for music, and on 4 year development cycles, that basically means you need talent to fill in 3.5 years of work between writing music. ;) Otherwise you're back in the contract pool of starving composers.

Yeah, you're absolutely right. My advice is to double major: major in composition and major in the production side. Don't be a Tommy Talerico - he's got an ear, but admits he can't read a note. They have to have the technical side too, otherwise you're right, you're just another starving composer. I think that's the real trick now to getting into and maintaining in any industry, always making yourself unique and more special than the other guy.

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Decided early in high school I was going to want a career in computers. Went off to Merrimack College as a computer science major and never changed it, and graduated in 4 years. When I graduated in 2001 there were no computer jobs anywhere, so it took me a year but eventually I worked for 5 years at one company before switching to the place I work for now in 2007, where I started as Web Applications Developer before getting promoted to a Software Engineer last year. Good times.

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I work at MOO.

I'm sorry... what is that?

I chose cognitive science (it's a lot like psychology) because my first two choices, physics and architecture, didn't pan out, and I was running out of time.

I majored in Physics too, Joe. Yeah, that really wasn't my first choice, but I did it because I thought it would open up a lot of doors for me. :lol:

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I, for one, welcome our new computer overlords.

"Attention all planets of the Solar Federation.

Attention all planets of the Solar Federation.

Attention all planets of the Solar Federation.

We have assumed control.

We have assumed control.

We have assumed control."

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I work as a sales manager and administrator in a small private music company selling wind, brass and percussion instruments, accessories and sheet music. This is a full-time job but I also earn a little additional money by playing percussion here and there and working once a month at a local radio station. The music company work is OK since I'm a real "musical freak" :D, but the salary is pretty low because it's a very small market in Slovenia; consequently, the competition is very severe and so it's impossible for anybody in this business to make substantial money and profit. In time, I hope to find something new, though on the other side as a musician, I very much enjoy working with and for musicians.

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I'm sorry... what is that?

MOO

When I go to the home page, the title banner says "Welcome to MOC," because the last "O" is cut off. I have learned from previous threads that I am perhaps the only person using Internet Explorer on Windows 7 on this board, so it's entirely possible I'm the only one who sees it that way.

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Ditch IE, man. Download Firefox, Chrome, whatever floats your boat - they're quicker, slicker, and (most relevantly to this discussion) much more compliant with web standards. IE has a knack for displaying stuff incorrectly, as you can see. (In all fairness, with IE 8 on Windows XP, I'm not seeing any issues with that site, but still, as a general rule, IE sucks at correctly displaying webpages.)

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Gender specificity in the English language is an interesting thing, and if by interesting I mean confusing, then I'm right.

We don't have the pronouns and adjectives for male and female that languages like Spanish do; English dropped them centuries ago.

You've got steward/stewardess, actor/actress, salesman/saleswoman, etc., but manager, teacher, and soldier can be gender neutral. Many people use "flight attendant" for steward/stewardess, or the generic "person" like "salesperson."

"Freshman" is a legacy from decades ago, when only men went to college and were not sensitive to the political correctness of what to call women. Now many schools, particularly women's colleges, use "first year," "second year," and so on.

Besides, "freshwoman" sounds much worse than calling a woman a "freshman." I somehow think the fresh prince was looking for freshwomen.

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I'm sorry... what is that?

MOO

When I go to the home page, the title banner says "Welcome to MOC," because the last "O" is cut off. I have learned from previous threads that I am perhaps the only person using Internet Explorer on Windows 7 on this board, so it's entirely possible I'm the only one who sees it that way.

Get rid of IE now!!!!!!! Start using either Firefox or Chrome man!

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